What Shots Do Dogs Need Yearly?

By Theresa Leschmann

Annual shots or vaccinations are broken into two categories, core and noncore. Core shots are those that should be given to every dog. Noncore shots are given to dogs based on a determination made by the veterinarian and may depend on geographic concerns and other health or living conditions of the dog.

Canine Distemper

Canine distemper is an airborne virus. It most commonly affects the respiratory system although it can attack the skin, brain, eyes and intestines. The most common symptoms include nasal and eye discharge, vomiting, diarrhea and seizures. Yearly shots are strongly recommended.


Parvovirus is a viral disease spread through contact with infected fecal matter. The virus can survive for months on inanimate objects. Incubation ranges from seven to fourteen days. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, dark and bloody stools and dehydration. Yearly shots are strongly recommended.


Canine hepatitis affects the liver but may affect other organs, too. It is transmitted through nasal secretions and urine. Symptoms include a sore throat, coughing, cloudy or bluish eyes and progress to include seizures, vomiting and diarrhea. Death can occur rapidly---in as little as two hours from the first sign of symptoms. Yearly shots are strongly recommended.


Rabies can be transmitted by a bite from an infected animal. Once bitten, a dog will go through one or more stages. Symptoms will vary from dog to dog but may include anxiety and nervousness, aggression and irritability and paralysis resulting in respiratory failure. After the first year, many veterinarians vaccinate every three years.


Parainfluenza is a virus transferred through contact with nasal secretions of infected dogs. Symptoms include a dry hacking cough and generally results in a mild respiratory infection. Yearly shots are suggested.